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New Zealand Recognizes All Animals As Sentient Beings

Updated: Jul 16, 2021

New Zealand had set a great example that animal lovers have known forever. They have acknowledged that our furry friends are ‘sentient’; they have feelings just like you and me. The ruling extended to all animals, not just orangutans, dolphins, and chimpanzees.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, which passed in May 2015, stipulates it is now necessary to ‘recognize animals as sentient’ and that owners must ‘attend properly to the welfare of those animals.’

All people in charge of animals or owners, well, in fact, anybody for that matter who has contact with any animal should treat animals right. Animals should be treated in ways that don’t cause them unnecessary or thoughtless pain or distress.

“To say that animals are sentient is to state explicitly that they can experience both positive and negative emotions, including pain and distress,” said Dr. Virginia Williams, chair of the National Animal Ethics Advisory Committee, according to

Many animals can similarly experience physical and psychological pain to humans.

Animals are also ‘conscious’; they have an awareness of things within themselves and their surroundings. There are different levels of consciousness; therefore, some animals have higher levels than other animals.

Have you seen a dog dreaming? If you have, then you will know that several animals have a subconscious as well. Countless mammals appear to be capable of emotion and empathy, which suggests a subconscious. Source:

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